Eight people were reportedly killed as a chopper of Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed during a rescue and relief operation in flood-hit Uttarakhand on Tuesday.
According to IAF sources, five of its personnel and three civilians were among the dead as the Mi-17 V5 chopper crashed near Gaurikund.
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A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the crash, the Indian Air Force said in a statement.
"One Mi-17 V5 helicopter of IAF on a rescue mission from Gauchar to Guptkashi and Kedarnath on return leg from Kedarnath has crashed North of Gaurikund. The eight persons onboard including five crew members sustained fatal injuries," the statement said.
An official spokesperson said that the air force would continue its operations in the area. IAF had started inducting Mi-17 V5 choppers only last year after 80 of them were ordered from Russia.
This is the second incident of a helicopter crash this week in the hill state.
A private helicopter carrying relief materials for the rain-affected people in Rudraprayag district had crashed on Sunday near Gaurikund leaving the pilot injured.
The low visibility is being cited as the reason behind the crash, but there was no official confirmation on that. There was a very small window for rescuing and transporting material needed for cremation of dead bodies piled up in the Kedar Valley.
The inclement weather was not safe for flying but the forces were using every opportunity to continue with their work. Two Mi-17 helicopters have been making sorties between Gaurikund and Kedarnath.
- With inputs from Headlines Today
Source: India Today